- NASA is shooting to launch its new space telescope.
- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson confirmed that the James Webb Space Telescope would attempt to blast off on Dec. 24.
Next Friday — Christmas Eve — NASA is shooting to launch its new space telescope.
On Friday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson confirmed that the James Webb Space Telescope would attempt to blast off on Dec. 24. A European Ariane rocket will lift South America’s Guiana.
The $10 billion Webb considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope — was supposed to soar Saturday but was jolted by a clamp during launch preparations, resulting in a four-day delay. Then a lousy communication link on the rocket was fixed, postponing the launch for two days.
U.S. and European space authorities signed off Friday on the launch date, following the last round of testing.
Nelson expects a smaller crowd at the site because of the holidays.
“Since it’s Christmas Eve, all the congressional deputation that was going down, all of that has evaporated,” he reported The Associated Press. Even the NASA and team has dwindled, he noted. But he will be there.
Already years late in flying, Webb would look back to almost the beginning of time, when the first stars and galaxies were forming, while examining the atmospheres of planets orbiting stars nearer to home. NASA partners with the Canadian and European space agencies on the mega project.
“There’s so much riding on this,” Nelson stated, “opening up just kinds of understanding and revelations about the universe.”
Is there a Christmas present other than seeing the telescope launch? Nelson replied by breaking into song: “All I want for Christmas are not my two front teeth, but for the success of JWST” — referring to the telescope by its acronym.